A/N: This story is dedicated to Midnight Ember, who is writing two of my favorite WIPs: "Cloudier Sky" and "Inheritance". I was getting anxious that she might be losing inspiration, and blatantly bribed her to update and finish "Cloudier Sky" with an offer of a one-shot of her choice pairing. Ms. Ember was already planning on the update, but cheerfully accepted my bribe, too. (Smart woman!) She gave me some pairings she liked, and I decided to up the ante a bit, since this little gem (which will actually be 2-3 chapters) was swimming in my head for far too long.
Anyone who hasn't read either of those stories, I definitely recommend them. There is just something that strikes a chord in me in both stories, but particularly "Cloudier Sky" – I LOVE that story's Voldemort and Harry. So, I guess that settles it for once and for all – I am definitely a Slytherin. Anyone worried about my other stories; fear not. They are moving along, but this is a mental-health break for me. I'm not off-track, so don't worry.
Warnings: Slash, bash and other trash. If you don't like this stuff, GO AWAY. I bet Disney or Nicktoons are having some sort of marathon you'll just adore.
The large, two-story, rectangular room was known to the residents and guests of the Manor as 'The Library', although in truth it was much more than that. It smelled of rich woods, expensive books, aromatic hearth fire, clean air and that indefinable something that meant comfort, safety – home.
It was decorated in richly-polished woods of various species and heavy, luxurious textiles and hides lined the comfortably-upholstered couches and reading chairs. The entire upper level was open in the center, and lined all around with a beautiful, wide satinwood and eucalyptus balcony and a hemlock railing that provided browsing room. For the fortunate few granted access to the extraordinary room, this balcony lets them peruse the floor to ceiling bookcases to their heart's content. Scattered every twenty feet or so around the railing were comfortable benches with padded side-rests on which to sit for a moment or recline for hours, lost within the words and worlds contained in the rare and wonderful tomes of this very special place. A generously-sized spiral staircase was located in the corner of the outer wall and the entry hall wall, opening directly through the floor of the upper balcony.
The lower level was lined in bookcases, as well, with a set of French doors on either side of the large fireplace that bordered the Manor's Entry Hall. On the opposite wall, a second fireplace mirrored the first, and the French doors bordering it opened into the private terrace and gardens. In the large, open space between the fireplaces were scattered tables located conveniently around two, long couches and a few, luxurious, wingback reading chairs. Along the outer side wall, tall bookcases were interspersed with deepset, long, gothic windows beneath each of which was a comfortable window seat (with drawers beneath) with various portraits on either side of the windows. Along the inner side wall, by the desk, only one door and a built-in bar broke the line of closed, redwood and platinum cabinets. The bar was continually stocked by the Manor's house elves. The door led to a private, luxurious lavatory. On the outer wall of the library sat a piano, with a beautiful violin in an ivory rest atop it and a lovely, heartwood music stand next to it. Across the room, on the wall with the bar, was 'The Desk' for the masters of the manor.
This was a beautiful room, but its truest beauty lay in the fact that it was 'homey'. This was truly the heart of the Manor. It was used for work, study, socializing, relaxing and even loving. Anyone who was welcome here – currently, not a very large number - was close to the masters of the Manor.
At present, the Library was quiet, apart from the steady scratching of well-trimmed quills against highest-quality linen parchment atop the finely-crafted, 16th-century partners' desk situated at an angle in the northern corner of the beautiful room. Two men were seated in their respective, abraxan-hide executive chairs, facing each other from either side of the large partners' desk. Both were deeply lost in thought, concentrating heavily on their respective projects. Books, charts and files were scattered across the large surface of the exquisitely crafted desk.
One of the men, who was seated with his back to the bar, leaned back in his chair and stretched long, powerful arms over his head in a back-cracking stretch. Dropping his arms to rest his hands behind his head, he raised thoughtful, crimson eyes to stare at the ceiling, still concentrating deeply on the puzzle that plagued them both.
Across from him, his partner glanced up and watched, his unusual blue-gray eyes sharp and observant. These two men had been together for over ten years now, certainly long enough to know each other very well, indeed. Smiling slightly, he folded long arms and leaned back gracefully, as well, content to enjoy the sight before him as he waited for his beloved to chase and contain whatever thought was haring through his incredible mind. He loved moments such as this, when his partner's brilliance surpassed his power, which was already extraordinary. In such moments, it was as if his partner's magic bowed to the man's intellect and his eyes always fairly glowed with the intensity of thought. At present, Thomas's eyes looked like living blood rubies, casting a slight, rosy glow over the strong face and pale skin and making him look every bit as otherworldly and dangerous as the man truly was.
Thomas was fully aware of his partner's observation, and welcomed it. He treasured having the beautiful, storm cloud gaze upon him, burning with curiosity and love. When Sherlock looked at him this way, somehow everything that Thomas was became enhanced – his thoughts became clearer, his intuition more daring, his logic more precise. Smiling gently as he lowered his ruby gaze to catch the tanzanite stare, he quirked a dark, winged eyebrow in inquiry, and smirked when Sherlock rolled his eyes in pretend annoyance.
"Don't be tiresome, Thomas. What have you deduced?" Sherlock's drawl was as practiced and perfect as that of any Slytherin, despite the fact that he was, to all intents and purposes, a muggle.
Thomas's smirk widened into a genuine smile of appreciation, showing off his nicely-formed lips and beautiful teeth, and lighting up his face in a way that still made Sherlock catch his breath after all these years. "I have definitely completed all of the arithmantic potentialities with 100% accuracy. The star charts are complete and correct. The heritage potion is complete and aging according to Salazar's given timetable. I am ready. You?"
Sherlock's elegant face wore a look of deep satisfaction. "I have completed all of the runic diagrams according to the le Fey journals. I have obtained an agreement with Gringott's to forestall all inquiries into the matter in exchange for my assistance with their little theft problem. And I have traced the bursts of Natural magic over the past decade and identified a twenty-square-kilometer range in which resides our quarry." He ignored Thomas' derisive snort at Sherlock's dismissive reference to the goblins' 'little theft problem'. To Sherlock, it had been the matter of a few hours' observation and deduction; to the goblins, Sherlock had solved a theft ring that had plagued the Wizards' Bank for nearly seven years and would have cost them huge fines and sanctions had word of it leaked to their customers or to the Ministry.
Thomas's eyes narrowed as he processed Sherlock's words. Leaning forward to stare closely at his brilliant beloved, he said warningly, "You had better be speaking flippantly when you say Gringott's will do this little task 'in exchange for' your assistance. They owe you a massive debt, one which their own honor and business practices will probably assign as a blood debt to your entire Line in perpetuity. If you try to dismiss the whole thing for a pittance, I will personally get involved in it, Sherlock." He met the man's immediate glare head-on and ignored his air of affront. Sherlock was far too casual about the value of his work, and Thomas would be damned if he let anyone take unfair advantage of his extraordinary lover.
Sherlock kept glaring at his arrogant partner, willfully ignoring the warmth in his chest at the man's protectiveness. Normally, Sherlock loathed it when anyone tried to 'take care of him' – his own brother, Mycroft, could provide numerous examples of how virulent Sherlock could get if he suspected anyone of 'coddling' him – but somehow, when Thomas did it, all Sherlock managed to work up in terms of emotion was this irritating happiness and a secret joy in being protected. It annoyed him immensely; even in a world of wizards, Sherlock Holmes did NOT require anyone's protection, thank you very much.
Despite the warmth, he also felt the buzz of too much information slowly pushing him into ever-greater sensitivity and irritation. Damn it, they needed this search to be done already! Thomas was extraordinary, but until this search was complete, Sherlock would be ever more susceptible to these damnable bouts of overwhelming, irritating sensation. God, it was just too much! And Thomas was deliberately pushing him; he could see it in the set of the man's jaw.
Finally surrendering to the uncompromising crimson stare, Sherlock huffed irritably and spat, "DO remember that I am not your little toady Pettigrew nor any of your other idiotic club members, Thomas. I may not particularly care about matters of money, but I do fully appreciate the value of being owed very large favors by very powerful people. You may withdraw your laser stare; I have not disappointed you in this." He pushed his chair back and rose abruptly, whirling to stalk to the French doors, intending to take himself, his hurt pride, and his god-damned vibrating mind into the garden for a brisk, angry stroll.
He got as far as the door before his hand was covered by a slightly larger, stronger hand and removed from the platinum doorknob. Before he could react with the sudden rage he felt at being denied his escape, he was pulled into warm, powerful arms against a firm, strong chest. His hair was seized in a tight grip that pulled his head back, and just like that, Sherlock found himself being forcefully kissed by Lord Thomas Voldemort in all his aroused, dominant glory. Knowing it was useless to attempt to extricate himself from the confining arms – even had he wanted to, which he most certainly did not – Sherlock threw himself into the fight and chose to battle fire with fire. Long, toned arms snaked upward to seize Thomas's dark chocolate hair and grip tightly, pulling the powerful wizard's head forward into the kiss that Sherlock fought to dominate. Sherlock was all sleek lines and toned muscles, strong and defined and deadly when he wanted to be. Thomas was strength and power, tall and lean and long and beautifully proportioned. Individually, they were unique, wonderful, beautiful. Together – they were indefinable.
They were the Masters of the Dark.
They had met just over a decade ago, when the brilliant, muggle Consulting Detective had followed every bizarre clue to a ridiculous deduction that had no recourse but to be true. Rather than even bother trying to prove it to those who would doubtless wish to institutionalize him, he had sent Mycroft his logs on the case and then set off on a journey to find proof. It had not escaped his brilliant mind to realize that this could not be a new power; that magic, whatever it was, had to be organized somehow, administered, managed, regulated … and populated. He could easily see excellent reasons why such an ability should remain secret from the majority of the world as he knew it. The only reason he even gave his logs to Mycroft – apart from trying to reassure his brother, which he would never admit to – was because Sherlock was certain that Mycroft already knew of this world. He was far too powerful to be unaware of it.
So, Sherlock had deduced his way into an intercept course with a Death Eater raid, had observed the efficient, organized attack from a safe location, and had allowed himself to be 'captured' by the powerfully-built, arrogant blond man in the silk robes and escorted to Lord Voldemort. After all, how else to get all of the answers and feed his ravenous mind than to go to the top of the 'food chain', as it were? He had been taken into what appeared to be a ballroom, bound by magic and witness to numerous other examples of it, and led to the front of the room to be thrown to the floor in front of a dark-robed figure seated on a throne on a dais.
Rather than cower in fear, or bellow belligerent and foolish threats, Sherlock had simply seated himself comfortably on his knees, raised his eyes to curiously study the remarkably handsome face of the ruby-eyed man, who studied him in silence with equal interest. After several moments of mutual evaluation, Sherlock quirked a half-grin at the man and said, "You know, I was able to figure out where your people were going to attack after just four hours of studying the data. I had minimal knowledge of this world, which I deduced within three weeks of finding the first clue. I had no information on names, places or abilities, and yet I tracked you all down in half a day."
He watched in fascination as the man's red eyes sharpened and stared into his own, and suddenly felt a distinct presence sweeping into his mind and inspecting his mind-palace with a pronounced sense of curiosity. At the time, Sherlock had the feeling that he could actually force this man back out of his mind, and was shocked to hear an amused baritone within his thoughts say quietly, 'Indeed, with a mind of this quality and this well-organized, you probably could do just that, Mr. Holmes, which is remarkable in and of itself. However, I recommend against it; the headache will be excruciating and I will not allow anyone to treat you for it. Just cooperate for a few moments, and we will go from there.'
Sherlock absorbed the sensations within his mind, which oddly enough given his intense need for privacy did not feel unwelcome, and then carefully and clearly formed the words, 'Fine. But if you do any damage, I will make it the goal of my life and my death to bother you about it til we are both nothing better than amoebas.' The man's presence in his mind filled with appreciative amusement, and then Sherlock was treated to the bizarre experience of having his memories carefully rifled through like precious books in a library. He found himself flinching away from a series of incidents where various people he had encountered called him 'freak' and other such insults, and was astonished to feel the man in his mind rumble soothingly against his embarrassment.
After what may have been minutes, or hours, the man gently withdrew from Sherlock's mind, leaving behind the sensation of a final caress that left Sherlock blinking slightly, a slight blush on his pale cheeks. Focusing, he looked around and realized he was still on his knees on the floor of the ballroom, and the ruby-eyed man was now standing in front of him, offering a hand to help him to his feet. The stir of mutters and whispers from the gathering of masked, be-robed people in the room at their leader's courtly action won them a hard-eyed glare from the powerful man that effectively silenced the room.
Gaining his feet, Sherlock was embarrassed to find himself wobbling on numb legs, and clinging to the other hand that rose to support him as he fought for balance. Refusing to be vulnerable, Sherlock raised an expressionless face and stared directly into the beautiful, red eyes that watched him with amused interest and a look of understanding. Once again, a wave of unrest swept through those gathered, this time apparently at Sherlock's disrespect in looking their leader in the face. Sherlock could not contain his disgusted sneer at the sycophants, winning from the other man a rich chuckle that sent an unexpected shiver of reaction down Sherlock's spine. He was completely confused by his response; considering that, after gathering adequate data and personal experiences at university on the subject of sex, Sherlock had determined it wasn't worth all of the fuss and had chosen asexuality. The ripple that just ran over his nerve endings at the man's chuckle, however, was anything but asexual. How very disturbing.
As soon as his legs allowed him to do so, Sherlock dropped his hands and stepped back, consciously assuming control of himself and regaining his pride. Rather than disapproving, the red-eyed man nodded as if in confirmation of some private thought and gestured for Sherlock to follow. As they left the ballroom, the powerful man said over his shoulder to the commanding blond who had brought Sherlock in, "Well done, Lucius. Follow the usual protocols and then dismiss everyone. If anyone mentions this gentleman's presence, or harms or disrespects him in any way, I will feed him or her to Nagini – alive."
And as the graceful, double doors closed behind Sherlock and the red-eyed leader of the first wizards he had ever seen, the courtship and bonding of the brilliant, beautiful muggle and the powerful, intelligent wizard began.
BACK IN THE LIBRARY
A decade later, and here they were, locked in another of countless battles for dominance using lips and tongues and teeth and numerous little bits of sensuous information they each knew intimately about the other. Sherlock fought valiantly, but in the end, as was usually the case, it was he who found himself bent over the desk, clothing around his ankles and shoved up to his ribs, moaning and gasping and shuddering in pleasure as Thomas held him down and thrust powerfully into his receptive body. And as always, when Thomas took Sherlock's control from him and forced the genius past the point of thought and analysis and information, Sherlock's body responded to his powerful lover the way Sherlock's violin responded to him. His body sang for Thomas. He resonated. He wailed, and quivered, and moaned, while Thomas played him like an expert musician, wringing a symphony of purest sensation from the beautiful body beneath him. And when the music culminated in a triumphant clash of chorded muscles and ecstatic pulses of pleasure, Sherlock was once again treated to the incomparable sensation of being surrounded by the loving protection of Lord Thomas Voldemort. The larger body was draped atop his slimmer, toned form, covering him and keeping him safe as Sherlock's body spasmed and shuddered, pleasure forcing his mind to settle, to quieten, to rest.
For Sherlock, this was bliss.
For Thomas, this was joy. As his beloved settled beneath him, he kept his larger body pressing him down, keeping Sherlock grounded and safe as that unique, desperately busy mind decided whether it needed to 'reboot', as Sherlock said, or whether it wanted to hibernate for a while longer. Thomas knew that, for Sherlock to gain the respite he needed – as was evidenced by the younger man's extreme offense earlier – he had to convince Sherlock's instincts that he was safe, weary, comfortable, protected. Thomas used every bit of his formidable skill to do just that – purring reassuringly in his lover's ear, pressing his body down firmly but comfortably to keep him grounded, magically enhancing the beat of his heart against Sherlock's sweaty back and sending gentle, warm pressure against delicate eyelids to keep them closed, forcing Sherlock's breathing to match his own, steady breaths, overwhelming each and every sense his lover had with the information that he was with Thomas and safe, safe, safe.
THE PACT OF NEW BLOOD
Eventually, Thomas was certain that Sherlock had allowed himself to descend into that state of being that meant rest and safety for submissives. Keeping his large hand pressed reassuringly between Sherlock's shoulder blades, Thomas raised himself upward, gathered their scattered belongings with a wave of his hand, and apparated them both into the Masters bedroom. They landed smoothly on the huge bed, with barely a bump or vibration to disrupt Sherlock's peace. Smoothing his hand over the chestnut curls that fell softly around the sharp cheekbones and long eyelashes of his surprising beloved, Thomas vanished all of their clothing and cleaned them both, then settled comfortingly behind Sherlock and pulled the smaller man back against his warm chest. Wrapping strong arms around his precious, private genius and drawing the soft blankets up around them both, Thomas let his own mind settle as he considered what they had accomplished today.
All the steps were complete. All the research was done. All that remained was the Scrying Ritual, and then he and Sherlock would find their Third. All they knew was that the missing third member of their union was male, younger than them both, and a descendent of Morgana le Fey. They had always been aware of the imbalance in their union, despite their joy and comfort in each other. Sherlock and Thomas had never been less than entirely forthright with each other, both blessed or cursed with an inability to care overmuch about tact. They were capable of it, certainly, but did not use it unless it was necessary – and with them, it was not.
It was a goblin, surprisingly enough, who had given them the information they needed to know. Steelmind, the account manager for Voldemort in his own right and as Slytherin's heir, had actually smiled when Thomas brought Sherlock in and introduced them. A goblin's smile is an intimidating thing, much akin to the predatory grin of a crocodile. Typically, Sherlock's reaction had been blunt and uncomplimentary, which had instantly won Steelmind's friendship because Sherlock 'thinks like a goblin'. Thomas still smiled whenever he recalled the befuddled look on Sherlock's face when the compliment was uttered. And then, Steelmind had forced them both to sit down, a feat which still puzzled Thomas, and began to explain about the Slytherin-leFey Pact of New Blood.
It was a promise between the Lines, set in blood and magic by Salazar Slytherin and Morgana LeFey nearly two millennia ago. Its purpose was to unite and re-ignite the two magical Lines should they be in danger of fading, and to include in the reborn Line a Founder or Parent who best represented the next most powerful race living in the world at the time the Pact of New Blood Ignites. It was an inspired condition, really, considering the current conflicts in the magical world concerning muggles. The completed Pact of New Blood would include three Heirs to their respective Line or species: Slytherin, Muggle and … le Fey.
The news that the Dark Lord Voldemort was bonded with a muggle, even one as extraordinary as Sherlock Holmes, had shaken the Death Eaters until they settled into the new power structure, and had completely overturned the Light's main argument against Voldemort and the Death Eaters. Yes, they were violent and they were definitely agitating for massive change in the wizarding world, but no one who had ever witnessed Thomas and Sherlock together, or who saw the great respect the Death Eaters held for their Lord's muggle Bonded, could ever again say with any seriousness that the Dark hated muggles.
And they didn't. They didn't love muggles, anymore than a dog loves a cat or a vampire loves a werewolf. The Dark, even more than the Light, respected the spirit of the planet and the spirit of magic, and felt a certain reverence for any species created by the two. That did not make them blind to the realities of the species, however. They deplored many of the circumstances that surrounded muggles and muggleborns. They loathed the damage being done to the magical world by those who carried the false banner of protecting mugglebords. They despised the damage being done to the natural world by the muggles themselves. They were determined to control and correct the harm that muggles represented, but they did not hate muggles, per se.
Although, they did hate blood traitors. And wasn't it fun to watch their enemies struggle to understand how the Dark could seemingly be accepting of their muggle Lord Consort but be virulent about pureblood families like the Weasleys and muggleborns like the Creeveys? Personally, Thomas believed that they would never figure it out on their own. Sherlock agreed; after all, he had spent his entire life watching people who could see but did not observe.
And so, Thomas and Sherlock bonded, ensuring that two-thirds of the Pact of New Blood was united: the Slytherin heir and the Muggle heir. Frankly, given Steelmind's joke that Thomas was fortunate that dementors, acramantulas and mermen didn't have worldwide political power, Thomas had even more reason than before to treasure Sherlock.
The news that there was a surviving direct descendent of Morgana le Fey had come as a shock for everyone, even the goblins. However, the runes in the Slytherin records had fully activated the prior week, having come to light the moment of Thomas and Sherlock's first physical bonding, and proving that all three requirements for the completed Pact of New Blood lived. The specifics of the Pact were clear, and had been well-thought-out by their ancestors. When each of the two powerful magical Lines were in danger or had not received an infusion of strong blood and magic in a number of generations, the parameters of the Pact of New Blood Spell began to activate. Thomas was the Slytherin component of the Pact. Sherlock was the Balance, and would re-infuse logic into the new line. They were missing their le Fey, who would be someone gifted in the aspects of the natural world, and possibly emotion. Each of the three were brilliant and artistic; even without knowing their third, they knew he would be these things because, if he wasn't, the Pact could not have activated. Somewhere, there was a wizard who was younger than they, close to nature, artistic, brilliant and – if their own circumstances carried through – lonely.
Tucking the blankets a little more closely around Sherlock, Thomas settled more comfortably against the toned back and felt the heaviness of sleep begin to take him over. He moved a hand soothingly over Sherlock's stomach as he felt the younger man's arm stretch out, reaching for the third body that should be in bed with them, but wasn't. Thomas nuzzled Sherlock's neck and pulled a pillow over to settle against his lover's abdomen, sighing in regret as the man whined discontentedly even as he drew the pillow close. Soon enough, there would be no more need for such a dissatisfying substitute.
They had done all the necessary research. They had done everything they could to prepare. And they were ready for him. These two strong, beautiful men wanted and needed their Third. His absence was becoming painful the longer they went without him. But the end was drawing near. Moon Dark was in three nights. They would conduct the Ritual and tap into the natural world that loved their Third as much as they would.
And then, they would have him.
A/N: Love to all my good friends, and all my wonderful readers and reviewers. I needed to get this written; it was a migraine-creation that would not step back for me until I put it through my keyboard. I expect there will be two more chapters. Dare I offer them as ransom to Midnight Ember? Or, maybe y'all could just read "Cloudy Sky", too, and review her to death for me. Am I abusing my power? Hell, yes! Hello, Slytherin at heart!
So, what do you think of this story so far? Don't be mean, please; still kinda fragile.
Thank you. Blessed Be.